• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare how the conventions of the sonnet

Extracts from this document...


Compare how the conventions of the sonnet genre combine with figurative language to create meaning in at least two texts. Originating in Italy, the sonnet was established by Petrarch in the 14th century as a major form of love poetry, and came to be adopted in England in the 16th century (Oxford Literary terms). Overtime there have been different types of sonnets written, for example the Italian (Petrarchan) sonnet, the English (Shakespearean) sonnet and the Spenserian sonnet. Each of these sonnets have there own conventions and use different types of poetic language to help create meaning for the reader. For the purpose of this essay we will look at how the conventions of sonnets combine specifically with figurative language to create meaning. We will begin by looking briefly at the three types of sonnet conventions before moving on to look at William Shakespeare's 'Sonnet 18' and 'Sonnet 73' to show how meaning is created through the combination of conventions and figurative language. As earlier mentioned, there are different types of sonnet, the major types being Italian, Shakespearean and Spenserian, each having their own sonnet form. All forms generally have some common features, such as comprising of fourteen lines and being written in iambic pentameter. The Italian sonnet has an eight-line octave, which usually raises an issue/argument followed by a six-line sestet where the issue/argument is resolved. The octave has a rhyme scheme of ABBAABBA, and the sestet can have either two or three rhyming sounds arranged in a variety of ways, for example CDCDCD, CDDCDC, CDECDE thus making the sestet very flexible. ...read more.


Having a turn here is not the usual place for a Volta in English sonnets, however it helps to enhance the speaker's feelings of not being able to compare his beloved, as she is perfect: 'But thy eternal summer shall not fade' (9) the turn is placed here so the next two lines can act as an 'answer' in comparison with line 5/6 where it seemed he was agreeing that she would also eventually die. After the turn the speaker describes his beloved as summer rather than comparing her to summer with the only difference being she is 'eternal' The use of this metaphor combined with the meaning created through the conventions in the third quatrain intensifies the meaning of her beauty being eternal and living for ever. The idea of his beloved staying alive through poetry is also seen in line 12: 'When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st' (12). The 'eternal lines to time' is not only used as a synecdoche where 'lines' is referring to the whole poem but also refers to the aging lines of beauty she will get as she gets older. These eternal lines of both poetry and her beauty will only get more beautiful with age. The final couplet concludes by enhancing the speaker's feelings that his beloved will live forever through his words in the poem. To do this Shakespeare reverts to typical English sonnet conventions with a concluding final couplet, So long as men can breathe or eyes can see So long lives ...read more.


The speaker is saying that even though he is older now he is still loved by the person important to him and the love is made stronger by his age. The organization of 'sonnet 73' develops through images of aging, to dying, to death and then ultimately to love. We have looked at two English sonnets Shakespeare's 'Sonnet 73' and 'Sonnet 18'. 'Sonnet 73' used typical conventions of the English form through development of its argument and it rhyme scheme giving readers a basic outline of the sonnets meaning. 'Sonnet 18' however, showed similar conventions but developed its argument much like the Italian sonnet. This shows how the English form and Italian argument structure compliment each other. The conventions of both these sonnets did create meaning but this was further enhanced with the use of figurative language. In 'sonnet 73' the metaphors were used to show the speaker growing old and then extended throughout the sonnet, which helped to emphasize the sonnets central meaning. Whereas in 'Sonnet 18' personification was used to create an image in the readers head of an amazingly beautiful woman who is incomparable to even the nicest season, summer. I conclude that on there own both conventions and figurative language create meaning but when combined the meaning is enhanced. This is due to figurative language being able to create images for the reader and add mood and tension to a sonnet. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sonnets section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sonnets essays

  1. The Sonnet

    The English or Shakespearean sonnet was introduced to England by Sir Thomas Wyaltt in the early 16th century having travelled from Europe. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) adapted the form, publishing 154 numbered sonnets in 1609. The themes employed are about love, time and change.

  2. The History of the Sonnet

    It talks of a tough background, whereas the other sonnet talks more about his growth, and how he got out of that barrier. This growth can be shown between the linguistic changes between the sonnets, as he changes from "Tony" to "Anthony" between the two.

  1. Are there any ways in which you consider that experiences conveyed by the sonnets, ...

    The star is also personified, with the height of it commented upon. 'Within his bending sickle's compass come...' This line emphasises the sickle, a curved blade, which, in this context, would be associated with death. A strong image of hell is revealed, in contrast to the church images received from the first few lines.

  2. Compare how love is portrayed in Sonnet 18,

    "shines", "eye", "gold", "complexion". "But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in the shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest;" This section would be the second section, it seems to discuss a darker side

  1. Explore aspects of the sonnet tradition through reference to a range of material you ...

    arises from her ability to unite the devotional and the passionate sides of her nature. Her Sing-Song (1872), a collection of nursery rhymes, is among the most outstanding children's books of the 19th century. After the onset of a thyroid disorder in 1871, she wrote mainly devotional verse.

  2. Consider the sonnet as a verse form. With examples compare the Petrarchan and ...

    In the octave of his sonnet "Divers doth use, as I have heard and know," he describes how men "mourn and wail" when their ladies decide that they do not love them anymore, in order to "pease their painful woe."

  1. Consider the Development of the Sonnet from the 14th Century to the Modern Day

    William Wordsworth wrote poems such as 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge.' War poetry became popular during the time of 1914-1918. This was because The First World War was happening at the time. War was on everybody's mind. The Poetry was read to the soldiers going off to war to motivate and encourage the soldiers to fight for their families and country.

  2. Analysis of Sheakespeare's Sonnet 73 "That time of year thou mayst in me behold"

    He then discusses the feelings his companion might have about his aging, noting that they may find their love being strengthened by the realization that he may die soon. It goes without saying that Shakespeare?s attitude toward his aging is negative.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work